Posts Tagged ‘New York Knicks

Patterson “Tells on himself”; An ugly win is still a win; Raptors better on road?; Knicks are a mess and no relief coming anytime soon

- December 15th, 2014

Ugly games, there have been a few. Especially lately. At least it sure seems that way. Sunday’s Raptors-Knicks tilt was a pretty hideous affair and I’m glad I wasn’t on this road trip. The Raptors again came out flat. They were pretty lethargic, letting the Knicks get to the line too often and could have blown a game against a horrid opponent, but like good teams do, Toronto found a way to leave Manhattan with another victory.

- Give Patrick Patterson the game ball for this one. He kept the Raptors afloat in the first quarter with his offence, hitting  all three of his shots for seven points (only Kyle Lowry also played well in the opening quarter), then saved the day for them late, by finally providing some resistance against Carmelo Anthony. Anthony had been having a solid scoring game, notching 27 points on better than 50% shooting, with 10 free throw attempts, before the Raptors opted to try Patterson against Anthony. Dwane Casey had mused the other day about possibly letting Patterson try his luck against small forwards. Anthony isn’t a traditional three, he’s more of a tweener so it’s not a perfect science, but Patterson showed something against him. As Casey put it afterward, Patterson “told on himself” as in he let the coaching staff know he can guard a scoring combo forward like Anthony. Carmelo did not attempt a free throw once Patterson was switched onto him and missed six-of-nine attempts from the field. There is no doubt Patterson has been one of the team’s best performers so far this season.

- I’m surprised the Raptors didn’t go to Valanciunas more often. Amar’e Stoudemire can’t come close to guarding him, yet Valanciunas only got one shot attempt in the first quarter – an aggressive move to the bucket for a score – just two more in the second. His teammates and coaching staff simply have to make sure Valanciunas gets more involved on offence. He is a good player down low. Use him. This isn’t a debate on whether he should be on the floor or not and when, it is about when he is out there, take advantage of what he can do.

- Terrence Ross has not been sinking threes as consistently as he did when DeMar DeRozan was around to create more open shots for him with his presence, but he’s been solid overall. Since DeRozan went down eight games ago (including the ninth game, since DeRozan only played a small portion of that game), Ross has averaged 14.2 points and 4.3 rebounds, shooting 48.6% from the field and 90% from the free throw line. He has shown more of an in-between game – putting the ball on the floor more, scoring on floaters and even a hook at times. One free throw attempt a game is not nearly enough though. Ross needs to be more aggressive and needs to draw some fouls. Especially for as long as DeRozan is out.

- More Ross, and this is a bizarre one – Including the game where DeRozan got hurt up until Sunday against the Knicks, Ross has shot 48.1% from three on the road, just 19% at home. Ross has basically been the force the Raptors want him to be on the road – 18.2 points on 58% shooting in the five games – but poor at home without DeRozan – 9.3 points on 35% shooting.

- The Kyle Lowry splits are also quite interesting. Using this same 9-game span, Lowry has averaged 26.4 points on the road and 2.6 steals and 10.2 assists per game vs. 17.3, 0.5 and 8.3. He’s also shot 36% at home, 43% on the road. It’s a small sample size, only about 11% of the season, but a bit intriguing. (Late add from a reader on Twitter: perhaps it has something to do with the Raptors facing far better teams at home during this stretch – those teams are 47-48 – vs. the 30-68 dregs they’ve faced on the road).

- So much for Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher instantly turning things around for the Knicks. They are an unmitigated disaster. The 5-21 start is the worst in team history. They owe Carmelo Anthony a ton of money for four more seasons ($22-$28 million a year, yikes). They have their own first round pick this year (luckily for them, since it’s going to be a high one), but send next year’s first either to Toronto or Denver (Denver gets the better pick, Toronto the lesser one) and they have no second rounders until 2020. Seriously. They have only seven players signed for next season, but even with the cap rising, will have a hard time adding star talent and filling out the roster. It’s more of the same the next summer. This is going to take some time. It’s too bad, considering how important the Knicks franchise is to the NBA and how terrible it has been for years now.

 

 

 

 

Vs. Pacers PPG: Short-handed Raptors make a statement; Valanciunas stands tall; Playoff preview; East races tight

- April 5th, 2014

Add another highlight to a season filled with them for the Raptors. Beating the Pacers, the No. 1 team in the East for the vast majority of this season is impressive. Even if Indiana seems to be coming apart at the seams, completely discombobulated, a shadow of its former self, that’s still a statement win. Dwane Casey said as much afterward. It would have been less impressive had Kyle Lowry or Amir Johnson been in the lineup, but without them it was a massive jolt of confidence.
Lowry is the initial point of defence, the quarterback at the top, while Johnson is the anchor at the back, the guy that makes it all work. At the other end, Lowry and DeRozan are the offence, period and Johnson is the most efficient finisher the team has. Those are two huge players to be without.

- How did the win happen then? Well, Jonas Valanciunas was fantastic again, continuing a monster 15-game stretch that has to be quite heartening to team brass. He’s really starting to come into his own at both ends of the floor. Roy Hibbert used to give Valanciunas all kinds of trouble, but Valanciunas whupped him on Friday. Meanwhile, fellow sophomore Terrence Ross did his best to replace Lowry’s offence and even a bit of his defence. Ross has grabbed 20 rebounds and scored 40 points over his past three games.

- The Raptors played tough, refusing to back down. Chuck Hayes and John Salmons were at the forefront of that, but Valanciunas wasn’t backing down either.

- Nando de Colo looks like a bit of a find. The passing was there from the beginning, but now he appears to be gaining some confidence with his jump shot. The Raptors will bring him back for cheap next season and will have an interesting decision to make if Lowry gets the money he deserves (it will be a lot) – let Greivis Vasquez go and save about $1.4 million at the backup PG spot (or bring them both back, Vasquez is due only a small qualifying offer, just over $3M, unless he gets a contract extension or another team signs him to an offer sheet).

- Interesting comments from Dwane Casey related to Tim Leiweke saying he wants to bring Lowry back on a long-term contract.

“That’s out of my department,” Casey said. “That’s the front office. That’s their paycheck. I would if I was general manager of a team. But that’s their decision.

“Kyle has done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s helped put us in this position with this team. He’s grown, he’s matured, and that’s huge as far as we’re concerned.”

- The East race is getting mighty tight. Brooklyn and Chicago kept pace with the Raptors with blowout wins.

Toronto now has home games against Philadelphia, New York and Milwaukee and road tilts with Milwaukee, Detroit and New York. The Knicks are highly motivated, but the rest of the games could be cakewalks, with, or without Lowry and Johnson.

Chicago has home games against Detroit and Orlando and road meetings with Atlanta, Washington, Minnesota, New York and Charlotte. That’s far more challenging, so the math says the Raptors will finish ahead of Chicago, but once again, that’s why they play the games.

Brooklyn has a game in hand on both teams and will play Atlanta, Orlando and New York at home and Philadelphia, Miami, Orlando and Cleveland on the road, but sits three games back in the win column. Toronto holds tie-breakers over both Chicago and Brooklyn in the event they finish tied.

- Washington survived against the Knicks by a point, so held serve with Charlotte. The Bobcats and Wizards will meet in a huge contest in Washington next Wednesday. If Charlotte wins, it owns the tie-breaker if they end up even.

 

 

Stoudemire becomes the leader of revitalized Knicks

- December 5th, 2010

Had a chance to talk to Leandro Barbosa about the evolution of his old friend Amare Stoudemire.

Some eyebrows were raised when the Knicks inked Amare Stoudemire to a five-year deal worth almost $100 million US this of-season.
But Stoudemire has been full value so far, leading the team to a 12-9 start, which includes seven road wins in a row.
New York hasn’t done that since Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley were roaming the paint back in the 1994-95 season.
New York had 11 road wins all of last season.
With Stoudemire leading the charge, New York has rebounded from a 3-8 start with a 9-1 run.
Stoudemire had 31 points and 16 rebounds against the Raptors on Sunday, pushing his season totals to the 25 point, 9 rebound a game range.
Always a major piece in Phoenix, but never a vocal leader, Stoudemire has stepped up as a Knick.
Playing inspired ball at both ends of the floor and constantly chirping at his mates, it has become readily apparent that the
team’s biggest acquisition in years is clearly the squad’s main man.
Raptors guard Leandro Barbosa, Stoudemire’s long-time teammate, said the difference is noticeable.
“I would say it’s his team,” Barbosa said.
“He’s been talking a lot (and) everybody’s been following him.”
When Stoudemire wasn’t letting his teammates know how he felt on Sunday about miscues or positive plays, he was giving the officials a piece of his mind, leading to a technical foul late in the first half.
Judging by the way Stoudemire is directing his team, it is clear he learned more from Steve Nash than just how to play the game.

Isiah Thomas … really?

- August 6th, 2010

Cannot help but laugh that Isiah Thomas is back in the fold in New York.

I will admit the man has a keen eye for talent via the draft, but he cost your franchise millions thanks to his sexual harassment lawsuit, somehow convinced you to hire Lenny Wilkens, who was useless two jobs before landing in New York and so on? James Dolan, what the hell are you thinking?

Apparently Zeke is going to help “recruit” guys like Carmelo Anthony and, why not dream big Knicks fans … Chris Paul, the guy I’ve compared to Isiah since first seeing him play.

I predict they get neither but Isiah at least keeps himself out of legal trouble this time around.

Barnes to Lakers; Houston next Knicks GM?; Beasley no longer living high life?;

- July 22nd, 2010

Yahoo Sports reports Matt Barnes has signed with the Lakers – 2 years, $1.7 and $1.9 million, with the second year being a player option.

The Cavaliers offered him $3.5 million a year, but he chose to sign with the co-favourites. No team boasts a meaner, more defensively sound swingman trio than L.A.’s Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant and Barnes. Defence wins, especially in the playoffs and the Lakers are still the team to beat. Yes, ahead of the Heat.

Allan Houston the next GM of the Knicks? Sounds ridiculous but that’s the buzz.

Ex-Raptor Antoine Wright has landed in Sacramento. A weird choice, considering I can’t see him every seeing the floor. Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi  and others will all play ahead of him.

Minnesota GM David Kahn continues to be a little too free with the info.

Yikes. Even though it was pretty well known what Beasley’s problems were, letting the world know for sure he has a problem with marijuna, or had a problem, isn’t very smart. I did like the jab at Chris Webber though.

One last thing, if you’re dying to try out for the Raptors Dance Pak,head to the ACC to register Saturday at 10 a.m. It’s open to the media, but I won’t be trying out. I believe Mike Ulmer did a story on trying out last year.

Bosh gives Raptors a list (per ESPN); analyzing the pre-draft measurements

- May 21st, 2010

I’ve been adamant for a long time that Chris Bosh will not simply walk from the Raptors and there is finally some hard proof.

Bosh was never simply going to walk away from $30 million (the amount more the Raptors or the team they agree to sign-and-trade him to can give him than any other team can). How many pro athletes turn down that kind of coin? Less than five in the history of sports probably.

The list Bosh provided (Miami, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto) is no shock either, except maybe to those running the Houston Rockets, who apparently are planning to go after Bosh hard.

I believe (based on nothing but my opinion) L.A. is his first choice, but playing with LeBron in New York or Miami in Miami have to be way up there.

Would he join Chicago if Wade or James don’t go there? It’s possible too, but that’s the least likely scenario, in my opinion.

Even though this was pretty much expected, still some fascinating news broken by Chad Ford, who usually sticks to draft scoops.

Speaking of the draft, measurements are here.

Some interesting stuff.  Hassan Whiteside, Larry Sanders, DeMarcus Cousins and some others have ridiculous wingspans. I think Ekpe Udoh is going to be a stud. I was impressed by Solomon Alabi’s measurements. He could be in the mix at 13 for the Raptors. Cousins’ body fat might be a concern to some. Greg Monroe probably moves up. Too bad for the Raptors, he’d be a nice fit, though I’d have concerns at adding a guy who doesn’t always try to a team filled with guys like that.

More later or tomorrow.